Review: Liondub's 10 year anniversary celebrations continue with this savage slab of ragga jungle. This time the captain Liondub takes to the controls himself alongside fellow US jungle veteran Jah Boogs while vocal guidance comes from one of the most distinctive MCs in the game: Bristol's Blackout Ja. Here we find him in fiery form as "Touch Up The Key" brocks out in all directions over a precision-tuned subby bass wobble. "Dread" flips for a sunnier side of the stack as Blackout pays homage to his roots with more of a melodic flow to his signature gravel-toned bars. Loaded!
Review: Brussels mandem Bredren get all arsonist with this scorching EP debut for Alix Perez's 1985. Four tracks, each one a flamer, we kick off with the forthright headbutt of "Inferno" where T Man holds court with savage bars. Deeper into the EP we hit their classic stripped back rolling sound on "Get Physical" before "Flick Knife" cuts straight to the chase with some sinewy, creepy low end flourishes. Last but not least "Undress" gets everyone naked with some beautiful light-at-end-of-tunnel barbed soul. Four out of four, Bredren are firing right now.
Review: Andre Sobota is Bungle, the Brazilian producer tearing up the contemporary drum & bass landscape with his hard hitting rhythms. He only tends to put out one EP a year, but that changes this autumn with three missives all landing in the space of two months. This is the first and features four cuts on two slabs of wax. "Mutant" starts out as an icy liquid roller before being ripped apart by rasping synths, "Dictate" is a glistening stomper with raga vocal stabs and melodic shimmers while "Enigma" is a dark, twisting and turning track that takes you down a rabbit hole. "Step Two" finishes things off in rump-wiggling jump up fashion and closes out a devastating release.
Review: The well-established drum & bass label Circle Vision continues with its often mysterious, uncredited white label series. This third instalment comes under the Circle Vision alias, which could be one person, loads of people or whatever else. What we do know is that "Hollow" bangs - frazzled bass zips about under big jungle breaks, with sci-fi pads bringing a sense of futurism to this bassbin bothering banger. "Tings In Boots" hits just as hard with raved up, strobe lit chords and some brilliantly old school sub-bass. Dark, raw, physical, it is pure dancing music of the highest order.
Review: Eliphino continues to explore his emotionally charged, modern sound with this new mini LP for Secretsundaze. Following the trend laid out by his previous turns on Hypercolour, The Love Below and Meda Fury, he unfurls a richly harmonic sound that places emphasis on melodic progression to tell a particularly personal story, ranging from the emotive "Studio Time" to the crooked break-flecked "Old Lemons". "Second Sunday" flirts with electro and "Breaking Up Is Hard" veers towards jungle, but throughout Eliphino's personality binds the record together in fine style. Thoroughly contemporary and unbounded by genre restrictions, this is the sound of someone making the record they want to make.
Review: Those whose jungle history goes all the way back to the formative days of drum & bass culture may remember Flatliner, an East London/Essex producer whose 1994 release on RAM Records, "The Big Bang", was something of an anthem at the time. The two previously unheard cuts showcased on this 12" - his first since the 1990s - were both recorded in 1995 when the producer was at the peak of his powers. "Just Stop" is particularly potent, with stabbing analogue bass, weighty sub-bass tones, minimalist bleeps and dreamy pads rising above a crunchy, pitched-up Amen break. "Flatline" is a little more rough and tough, with creepy chords and female vocal snippets riding a fiendishly edited, cut-up jungle rhythm and insanely weighty sub-bass.
FOI - "One More Stripe" (Lion UK & Drama1 remix) (5:39)
FOI & Fusion - "Treat All Girls Right" (Lion UK & Drama1 remix) (5:30)
Review: Kemet dig deep into their vaults and pull up a seminal 94 joint from James Grant Stephens under his FOI aka Family Of Intelligence guise (plus a collaboration with original Kemet soldiers Fusion) and get young Kemet guns Lion UK along with Drama1 to add the necessary 2020 production punch. "One More Stripe" is brought to life with warm drums and precision position of the ragga vocals while the deep soul of "Treat All Girls Right" is given an extra sun-kissed sparkle. Timeless.
Review: We've been waiting a LONG time for this! Loxy & Resound's most demanded dub since 2008, "New Age" has cult status and it's not hard to hear why; super spacious and so broad and vital in its sound, it still sounds futuristic to this day. "Stone Cold" kicks ass for a 2009 track, too. Once again unreleased and demanded by the heads for the last 10 years, this one takes us deeper down Loxy & Resound's rabbit hole, before that divine vocal cuts through the mix and it's game over. Ageless.
Review: Heavy co-lab business, Bristol boys Mako and Mikal tag-up for a serious lesson on Mako's Utopia. "Under The Earth" takes the lead and you can spot the breaks as they fly by, all switching and cutting almost every beat at points before suddenly dropping out of the mix and leaving you in a bewilderingly oceanic breakdown. "Switch It", meanwhile, lives up to its name with a fantastically strange beat. Kinda 4/4 in spirit, there's a new sound lurking in this which is only just being explored here. Switch? Completely flip things beyond belief more like.
Shine On Through (feat Mountain & Karina Ramage) (4:11)
Kosa (feat Keeno) (5:58)
The Encounter (feat Bop) (5:40)
Miles Ahead (feat DJ Marky) (4:11)
Morning Sunrise (feat Danny Wheeler, G Force & Blu James) (4:55)
Tokyo '96 (feat SPY) (5:24)
Show Me How You Feel (feat Lorna King) (4:52)
Dive (feat Polaris) (5:42)
Liberta (feat Urbandawn) (4:34)
Living For (feat Paul T & Edward Oberon) (5:28)
Transparent (feat Whiney) (4:57)
Mystic Crystals (feat Technimatic) (5:16)
Nexus (feat Pola & Bryson) (4:13)
Merchant Blessing (feat MC Conrad) (4:31)
Review: Makato is often cited as one of the pioneering founders of Japan's drum & bass scene. He's now up to his sixth studio album and it finds his airy, rolling, sweet flowing beats all present and correct. "Tomodachi Sessions" derived from a series of collaborations with close friends who have all played a part in his 25 year career. DJ Marky, S.P.Y, Bop and MC Conrad all feature and lend their own personalities to an album that offers celebratory hands in the air tracks like "Shine On Through" next to more late night dancers like "Transparent" and melodic explorations like "Show Me How You Feel".
Review: Moscow-based Okbron Records has been doing a terrific job in serving up long lost and previously unreleased cuts from the formative years of jungle and drum and bass. Their latest white label 12" offers up two tracks from long-serving quartet Pariah, which were recorded during the late 1990s around the time when they were weighing up a "major deal" with LTJ Bukem's "Good Looking Records". Bukem used to rinse the dubplate of "Urban Score", a wonderfully warm, spacey, bass-heavy and dreamy chunk of intergalactic drum and bass underpinned by the classic Amen break. Flipside "Montage" is, if anything, even more intergalactic in tone, with an extended ambient intro making way for bustling electronic beats and wavy, supernova synths.
Review: It's been 10 years since Alix Perez blessed the world with his debut album "1984". To celebrate, Shogun Audio are re-releasing the album with all tracks available on vinyl for the first time and it sounds every bit as good as you'd hoped it would. A stark statement of intent that's aged incredibly well, this is where the London Belgian sowed some of his deepest seeds; from the beat variation and playful twists of space on tracks like "Voices" to the evergreen soul of "Forsaken" (still the only Peven Everett-fronted drum & bass track to this date) via the glitchy grime of "Calm Of Cast", it was clear, even back then, that Alix would go on to set whole new levels and benchmarks. This is a pivotal slice of history.
Review: Hugely prolific pioneer Persian Prince returns with yet another haul (and indeed pull) of unreleased DATs from the foundation era. His breakthrough "Persian Inna Jungle" track takes the lead with a dubplate remix never-before-released. It's back by pure gully fire as "Drum & Bass Soldier" takes us straight back to 95 and Kool FM absolutely running things. Deeper into the mix "Interlude" takes us on the scenic route with some very spacey treatments on the breaks while "Truth" plain shaves our head off with serious amen pressure. Finally, "Desertism" drops us in the middle of the Sahara with only a drum kit to keep us alive. Mystical business.
Review: Since kickstarting the Existence Is Resistance label back in 2011, Persian has been on a mission to offer up sleazy, forthright and downright inspired UK bass music. He's at it again on "Revolution", joining forces with various like-minded fellow producers to lay down more scintillating and searing sounds. He first joins forces with DJ Staf for a bombastic revivalist jungle affair (the ace "Revolution"), before inviting Nick Dunton to help wrap wild electronics and gentle melodies around a more off-kilter D&B rhythm on "Milton 21". Elsewhere, Lauryn adds evocative vocals to the dreamy breakbeat flex of "Not Nuff Time", while solo salvo "D Dub Retwist" sounds like a more sub-heavy take on the mid-90s Ninja Tune trip-hop sound.
Review: Now THIS is how you launch a label. Response and Pliskin present Northern Front's first release and it contains three highly respected names across the game. First up is a collab with Deadman's Chest, "Control State" sets the glacial tone and some cold hard truths over a hardcore jam that stinks of 1992 before Digital joins the fray and adds a little cosmic poetry, mystical pads and hurricane breaks on "True Story". Finally, Need For Mirrors glides into the mix and brings a deeper, rolling vibe on "Ruins", a track that gets darker the deeper as we progress. Three blinders, three totally different shades. We can't wait to hear what the Northern Front deliver next.
Review: Seba and Paradox... If ever there was a D&B dream team, it's these guys. With collabos going back to 2005 on labels such as Hospital, Critical and Bassbin (to name but a few) their complementary vibes reach a new height as they set up a label strictly for them. And it starts right here. "Over Now" is pure cosmic soul sent from the year 2319, all planet-bounding breaks and hazy atmospheres, while "Jupiterize" whisks us off on a dreamy magic carpet ride around the galaxy as a jazzier spring is added to the evocative mix. Precision tag-team business, both men bring their a-game as always.
Review: Fresh from releasing a massive co-lab album "Underground Vol 1" with the mighty Peshay, Sense jumps on J Majik's blueprint-setting Infrared imprint with two authentic jungle bashers. "The Edge" is a bonafide brockout, all pitched drums singing and elephantine reverse wobbles while "Let You Go" flips for a deeper experience. Velvet pads, sensual vocal samples and breezy skippy breaks. Both absolutely slay a dance. Don't sleep!
Review: Sicknote's been on absolute fire this year what with his dubplate cutting business and a whole slew of collaborations firing on the likes of PAWS and Sonic Force. Here we find him returning to Abstract Illusion's 2017 "Lo Fi Selassi". The original (if you were lucky to get it) still cuts heads clean off to this day and Sicknote's maintained that tradition with even more bass rawness and savage amens. "Swiftly", on the B, sees him tagging in longstanding mates Dissect and Justice for more of a jazzy, spacious work-out. It's dreamy... But you know with these guys dreams can turn into nightmares very quickly. And we love it when they do. Limited so don't hang around.
Review: Have a word. One of Special Request's heaviest, most sweat-inducing tune of 2019 getting remixed by Mall Grab and Sully on a pink vinyl? Is this even real? Yes it is. And these remixes absolutely slap. As the titles suggest, Mall Grab takes it down to 135 and in doing so has created even more of a heavier punch to the mix. Man-of-the-moment Sully, meanwhile, flips the original "Vortex 150" into a 164 jam. Once again the breaks are set to throat-slice, the processing makes you feel like you're being zapped by high voltage electricity cables and the whole vibe is 100% long dark tunnel. Immense remix business here.
Review: Fire in the hole! Following his Metalheadz EP earlier this year, Newcastle's Tyrone steps over to good mates Ulterior Motive at Guidance for a full four-track slab of D&B excellence. The title track is an absolute beast that slices through the air and space with incredible weight and width while elsewhere "Beg Of U" takes us on a tour of Tyrone's deeper space-aged side, "Lost Witness" rolls out with rattling menace and muscle and "Velvet" closes the deal on a deep introspective one with the label heads. Prepare to be severed.
Review: Must Make made a fine start with their first EP back in May, and now they follow it up in quick time with a second volume of "Late Night Soundtrack". Once again, Workforce is the man in control and in case you missed it, that is the new alias of SpectraSoul's Jack Stevens, who is also behind the label. "Two Words" is smooth liquid with a distinctive nocturnal feel, soft focus piano chords and heartfelt vocal murmurs layering in the soul. SP:MC spits on the much more ragged and angsty stepper "Overnight Express" and "So Good" sits somewhere in between: the drums are frantic, the textures soar, but the vocal is sweet. "Common Interests" is minimal roller with focus on warped low ends and rattling jungle percussion. Hot stuff.